By Peng Yang
FRESNO– Fresno City Council passed the 2035 General Plan last night by a margin of 5-2. Despite several moments of confusion within the council throughout the night, the plan that will guide the development priorities of Fresno for the next 20 years was approved.
Council president Steve Brandau said, “last week we heard from a lot types of people. Tonight is not for public speaking” in reference to last week’s long meeting at the convention center in which the public were allowed to comment.
Community members hoped that the vote would be delayed for even more public feedback on the last minute amendments, many that came at the recommendation of developer Granville Homes.
Marco Ocana, of Fresno Barrios Unidos, insisted the community needs more time to read the plan and make sure it’s good for everyone, saying “decisions here are made for the people with big pockets. They don’t care what normal people say.”
Barbara Hunt has been coming to city council meetings for 40 years. She is worried about development in West Fresno. “I am against this plan. If they want to take over the land of the westside, the people should have the voice to vote for what they want to see,” Hunt said.
Brandau motioned to postpone the vote for 60 days, but it was denied. Despite residents’ efforts and the apparent confusion from the council, the 2035 General Plan, which Mayor Ashley Swearengin called “historic” and “worth celebrating”, passed.
Now, residents and city officials will turn their attention to implementing the over 4,000-page plan. Highlights of the plan include focusing on redeveloping existing buildings which are currently unused and causing urban blight, creating a master parks plan to provide green space to Fresno, and renewing the code system in order to keep all communities safe from unwanted industrial developments.
Photos by Marissa Vang